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o/te more 




Sealed Games 

Is that factory? 


What the heck is it? 

Volume 1 Issue 4 
December 2007 


A whole lot of it. 




Letter from 
the Wizrobe- 

How to scratch Stadium 
Events games off your needs 
list for free 


(And now, a letter from your Editor-in-Chief) 

Article by Dan Langenvin 

Before I dive in, let me take a minute to show 
you my needs list: a little free advertising for 
yours truly, the NA editor-in-chief. Not just be¬ 
cause I can, but it really is relevant as well. 

Cheetahmen 2 
Double Strike 
Dragon Fighter 
Great Waldo Search 
Monster Truck Rally 
Secret Scout 
6 in 1 Myriad 
Stadium Events 
B ubble B ath B abe s 
Peek-a-Boo Poker 
Hot Slots 

Now, a quick magic trick. I’m going to take an 
expensive, daunting and persistent list of needs 
and make it into something quite different: 

Double Strike 
Dragon Fighter 
Great Waldo Search 
Monster Truck Rally 
Secret Scout 

For the low, low price of $0 I’ve eliminated all 
of the most difficult titles from my needs list. 
No longer will I have to worry about interest 
rates in relation to my home mortgage to fund 
my hobby! No longer do I need to worry about 
fakes, frauds and repos! It’s liberating! But is it 
fulfilling? Is my set really going to be complete 
with just under $100 left to spend and 5 carts 
to go? 

A year ago I wouldn’t have thought 
so. I, along with scores of other collectors, sim¬ 
ply said to myself “I want them all.” Others had 
already done it by the time I made that personal 
decision, others have completed their sets in 
the meantime, and still more will do so in the 
future. Some CIB, some with Sachens, some 
sealed. Some without SE, some without Rac- 
ermate II, some without Panesians, still others 

without any unlicensed games whatsoever. It’s 
been said many times before, there’s no “one 
count” for the NES set. Sure, there are definitive 
numbers in the hobby. There are, for example, 
a finite number of titles. It’s lower than the 776 
that many people accept as the total number of 
“games” to collect though. The actual number 
would combine all of the Pac-Mans, Impossible 
Missions...even the 6-in-l’s since they’re all 
variants of the same name, just different pub¬ 

How about just getting all of the dif¬ 
ferent games, all of the different “play experi¬ 
ences?” That’s also a finite goal...but one that 
requires thought as well. We can eliminate mul¬ 
ticarts like 123/ABC and SMB/DH/WCTM, 
most Aladdin minicarts, and title changes like 
Stadium Events since they essentially already 
exist in another form. Same game, different 
name. You could certainly complete a set of 
these, but would it really be complete in the eyes 
of other collectors? 

My point is, that whichever you 
choose to collect, it’s arbitrary. Although our 
database at NA is enormous, your collection is 
your own. Lately with the tremendous increase 
in users and posts at the site, we’ve also seen a 
correlated increase with values of NES games. 
There’s no mistaking this effect.. .the NA effect, 
to coin a phrase. Sure, Digital Press and other 
forums have existed for years, Etler’s list has 
launched 1,000 collections, and eBay has had 
Nintendo games on it from day one. But it’s NA 
that has galvanized the community and com¬ 
bined the hobby with pure, concentrated infor¬ 
mation in a way no single entity has done yet. 

Those few who used to collect have 
been able to rest on their laurels, enjoying the 
ballooning of their collection’s value... those 
boxes sitting in the closet may have doubled in 
value (and then some!) over the course of a year. 
But there are a great deal more collectors just 
entering the hobby because of the excitement, 
allure and ease that NintendoAGE embodies. 
It’s free, 24 hours, friendly, and extraordinarily 
well-designed. But I digress, this isn’t an adver¬ 
tisement for something you’ve already “bought 

into,” it’s an editorial. 

Getting back to my $0 investment into 
my own collection... why would I choose to set 
my personal finish line a few feet short of the 
“generally accepted” one? Why would I “give 
up” with so few games left to go? Partially, it’s 
because I love the hobby more than I love the 
games that go with the hobby. It’s perhaps dif¬ 
ficult to explain, but documenting and discuss¬ 
ing the NES is way more valuable to me than 
any one game. When you’re discussing a game, 
searching for a game, and yes, playing a game 
(good gracious!), there’s something intangible 
that happens. It takes on its own personality, 
it becomes more than in inanimate object; it 
becomes an object of desire and fun, a topic; 
something upon which focus is put. To simply 
own a game, especially a chase game, is an 
achievement in and of itself, but I find it to be 

I look at my collection of well over 
1,000 games and have trouble focusing on any 
one of them. There are ones of which I am proud 
for a number of reasons. Bargains, nostalgia, 
favorites and rarities. Some are just plain cool. 
But once I have them...that’s it. I can’t “have” 
them once again; they’re HAD! I’ve already 
“had” so many games, I’m content NOT having 
the last few expensive variants and pirates that 
comprise the ones I’ve erased from my needs 

So there’s a mixture of relief knowing 
the end is much closer. Not having to compete 
with the scores of other grail-chasers that log in 
with only the word “ALL” in mind is liberating. 
The kids that overpay, and resell to the next col¬ 
lector who wants to overpay using the previous 
person as an arbitrary benchmark. Grail-chas¬ 
ers; an ironic term because there’s very little 
chasing to be done. All it takes is more money 
than the next guy. There’s not much of a chase 
in that. And shaking off this angst cost me a 
grand total of jack squat. Hey guys, I’m almost 
done! Relief, liberation...and honestly...but no 
feelings of disappointment, envy or deficiency. 
Not after watching this whole show for as long 
as I have. 




How was it sealed? 

Article by Dan Maresca 

“So Bronty, did this title come with the H 
seam? How about that 
one? What about unli¬ 
censed games?” 

These are some 
of the questions I get on 
a pretty regular basis. I 
think a database of infor¬ 
mation on how individu¬ 
al NES titles were sealed 
is long overdue. Accord¬ 
ingly, I am using a combination of memory and 
my own collection to document how each title 
was factory-sealed. There will probably be a 
mistake in this listing; let’s get that out of the 
way now. Furthermore, there really isn’t enough 
space in the e-Zine (nor do I have enough time 
in just one month to dig up all the games I want 
to double-check on) so I will publish a partial 
list now with others to come later. For the most 
part it will be broken down alphabetically over 
the space a few e-Zine articles, but there may 
be some titles early in the alphabet that I can’t 
check until later. 

First thing’s first: clearly, not all 
games were sealed the same way. Most licensed 
games have the “horizontal” seam which is well 
known but really probably better described as 
an “H” seam: seams on the long thin sides of the 

box connect¬ 
ed by a seam 
in the back 
middle of the 
box forming 
an “H” shape 
overall. This 
is nothing 
new to many 

ever, there are 
also licensed 
games sealed 
in other man¬ 
ners, the most 
common of 
which being 
the “verti¬ 
cal overlap” 
seam: a seam 

Below: Typical factory- 
sealed “H” seam , 
compared to a reseal. 

at the top 
flap, a simi¬ 
lar one on 
the bottom, 
with a small 
area down 
the back 
of the box, 
from seam to 
seam, where 
the plastic is 
two layers 
thick (the 

games had 
all manners 
of different 
seams based 
upon the 
title, manu¬ 
facturer, and 

To further complicate matters, not 
all copies of each game were sealed the same 
way. (Attention variant hunters!). For example, 
I have definitely seen two different seal variants 
on Popeye. From what I’ve seen over the years, 
the most common seal on Popeye is a variant of 
the normal H seam. I’ve heard it called the step 
seam in the past, and for lack of a better term, 
I will continue to refer to it as such. Normal 
“H” seam copies definitely also exist though. 
I’ve owned both and am 100% sure that they 
are legitimate seams. I’ve seen other step seam 
copies of Popeye and even a step seam Geng¬ 
his Khan as well, which was from a source I 
trust 110%. Why Popeye? Why Genghis Khan? 
What other step seam games are out there? Who 
knows. Perhaps one particular factory (or even 
an assembly machine or two within a factory) 
was a little different than the rest. Hard to say, 
but there’s no doubt at all in my mind that it’s 
a legitimate (if poorly understood and poorly 
documented) seam variation. As an¬ 

other example, Stack-ups are sealed without a 
horizontal seam due to their large size. They 
have seams on three of four sides of the box. 
However, two different versions clearly exist, 
one with a black circular “Nintendo” sticker un¬ 
der the plastic, and one without. Both of these 
versions are sealed on three sides, but it’s a dif¬ 
ferent three sides depending on whether or not 
the sticker exists. 

The point is, this list that I am pub¬ 
lishing is far from exhaustive. It is a first attempt 
at documenting what collectors need to know. 
But it certainly won’t be able to address every 
possibility because clearly seal variants do exist. 
This will just be an attempt at publishing what 
I know and/or believe to exist... it will be up to 
other collectors to add to this list or point out 
any inaccuracies that may have crept into it dur¬ 

Above: Always check 
for overlapping , as re¬ 
seals rarely do this. 

ing its creation. 

A word on Color Dreams, Bunch 
Games and Wisdom Tree titles: clearly these 
guys were all over the map when it came to 
sealing games, the same way they were all over 
the map with regards to contents. Collectors 
will notice while perusing the list (as it becomes 
more complete in the coming months) that there 
are definite trends to how all other manufactur¬ 
ers sealed their games. For example, FJN and 
Acclaim games appeared to have started out 
with H seams, eventually switching over to ver¬ 
tical overlap seams. We even track the date of 
the switch, as I will address in a future article. 
But CD/WT/Bunch? No sense. No rhyme. No 
reason. I suspect the collector is best off using 
other methods beyond seam type to determine 
whether or not a given CD the mill in the fu¬ 

I have had to leave some titles out, as 
previously noted due to not having them handy 
to double check. These will hopefully be ad¬ 
dressed in a future issue. 

Below: Various other 
factory-sealed games. 



Nintendo NES 
Factory Release Info 
Letters A-C 


Flatback - No horizontal or 
vertical seam. 

L - Left Seam 
R- Right Seam 
B - Bottom Seam 
T - Top Seam 



Bionic Commando 


A Boy and His Blob 


Black Bass 


AD&D: Dragonstrike 



Vertical Overlap 

AD&D: Heroes of the Lance 


Blades of Steel (Reg. & Classic) 


AD&D: Hillsfar 


Blaster Master 


AD&D: Pool of Radiance 


Blue Marlin 


Action 52 

LRB / Flatback 

Blues Brothers 


Addams Family 


Bo Jackson 


Addams Family: Pugsley’s 




Adventure Island 


Bomberman 2 


Adventure Island 2 


Bonk’s Adventure 


Adventure Island 3 


Boulder Dash 


Adventures of Tom Sawyer 




After Burner 

Vertical Overlap 

Break Time Pool 


Air Fortress 


Bubble Bath Babes 

B / Flatback 



Bubble Bobble 


A1 Unser Jr. Turbo Racing 


Bubble Bobble 2 


Alfred Chicken 


Bucky O’Hare 


Alien Syndrome 

Veritcal Overlap 

Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout 


All Pro Basketball 


Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 


Alpha Mission 


Bump n Jump 




Burai Fighter 


American Gladiators 










Caesar’s Palace 


Arch Rivals 


California Games 



TLB / Flatback 

Captain America and the Avengers 


Arkista’s Ring 


Captain Comic 

TBR / Flatback 



Captain Planet 




Captain Skyhawk 


Athletic World (FFF) Black Circular 

Casino Kid 


Sticker Seal - does *not* say Nintendo 

Casino Kid 2 


Athletic World (non-FFF) 




Attack of the Killer Tomatoes 


Castle of Deceit 

LRB / Flatback 

Baby Boomer 

LRB / Flatback 

Castle of Dragon 


Back to the Future 




Back to the Future 2&3 




Bad Dudes 


Castlevania 2 


Bad Street Brawler 


Castlevania 3 


Bad News Baseball 


Caveman Games 


Bandai Golf: Pebble Beach 


Challenge of the Dragon 

LRB / Flatback 

Bandit Kings of Ancient China 


Championship Bowling 




Championship Pool 


Bart vs. the World 

Vertical Overlap 

Cheetahmen 2 

LRB / Flatback 





Baseball Simulator 1000 


Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 


Baseball Stars 


Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 


Baseball Stars 2 


Chubby Cherub 


Bases Loaded 


Circus Caper 


Bases Loaded 2 


City Connection 


Bases Loaded 3 


Clash at Demonhead 


Bases Loaded 4 


Classic Concentration 


Base Wars 




Batman Returns 


Clu Clu Land 


Battle Chess 


Cobra Command 




Cobra Triangle 


Battle Tank 


Code Name Viper 




Color a Dinosaur 


Battletoads / Double Dragon 




Battle of Olympus 




Balloon Fight 




Bard’s Tale 


Conquest of the Crystal Palace 






Best of the Best Championship 


Contra Force 


Bible Adventures 

LRT / Flatback 

Cool World 


Bill Elliot’s NASCAR 


Cowboy Kid 


Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure 


Crash and the Boys 


Big Bird’s Hide & Speak 






Crystal Mines 


Bignose Freaks Out 

LRB / Flatback 



Bignose the Caveman 

LRB / Flatback 


Horizontal eZine 


ThiA Month -i MemJjiesi ^pMucflit: 


Name: Peter Melnick 
Age: 30 

Location: Chilliwack, British Columbia, 


Hydro Excava¬ 
tor Operator 
Children? “I 
had a son who 
was just born 
on September 
11, 2007. His 
name is Ben¬ 
jamin. His fa¬ 
vorite thing to 
do is poop.” 

Favorite NES 
Game: “Hmm, I like Bubble Bobble. I 
think it’s funny watching the guys run 
around. I like the music, and the two-play - 
er mode is a lot of fun.” 

Least Favorite NES Game: “Teenage 

Mutant Ninja Turtles, just because after all 
these years I still can’t beat it.” 

What would you spend your money on 
if you didn’t collect for the NES? “Porn. 
Just kidding. I’m not sure. I guess other 
systems and games. Yeah, most likely that, 
since I do collect all the other systems.” 
Fondest Memory of Video Gaming: “I 
remember one year at Christmas sneaking 
downstairs and pre-opening some games 
from under the tree and playing them all 
night. Once morning came, I re-wrapped 
them and put them back under the tree. 
My parents never found out I did that. The 
games were R.C. Pro-Am and Ninja Gaid- 

Any website you want to show off? 
Anything you’d like to say for all the 
world to see? “It’s been a lot of fun getting 
to know other members from the site and 
becoming friends with them. Everyone’s 

been very knowledgable and has helped me 
with whatever questions I might have had. 
I find NintendoAGE to be one of the best 
sites out there for NES collectors.” 

Want to be featured? 

Each month from now on, we’ll be 
featuring one member from our com¬ 
munity. Want to be part of it next 
month? The subject for each month’s 
issue will be selected at random from 
people in the chatroom. So log on, 
and hope me without You5 2 drops by. 

Just remember that there are hun¬ 
dreds of members, so don’t get 
discouraged if you can’t get in next 

sea \ssrn 

Hot Tip : Collecting on Ebay 

Article by Dustin Lett 

When’s the last time you were able to get a de¬ 
cent CIB game for a good price? With the crazy 
increase in prices on eBay and the ever-grow¬ 
ing number of new collectors, it 
has become nearly impossible 
to find a great bargain like you 
could in the past. It seems that 
eBay is swamped with new col¬ 
lectors who don’t know the val¬ 
ues of the games and can’t de¬ 
termine what really is rare and 

what’s not. 

Today, there are more people than 
ever searching eBay for the rarest NES games 
and there are fewer and fewer copies available 
as they are ending up in the hands of collectors. 
With the low supply and high demand, prices 
are being driven up to outrageous amounts. Un¬ 
doubtedly, the NES scene has definitely become 

more of a seller’s market than a buyer’s market 
right now. 

So you still have the desire for those 
games, but can’t stand to dish out the unprec¬ 
edented amounts of cash they are fetching right 
now? Here are some tips to help you score big 
without breaking the bank. 

Of course, the perfect solution would 
be to find rare games in the wild. Try looking 
for games at your local flea market, thrift store, 
pawn shop, yard sale, etc... There are always 
good deals to be had at places like these as peo¬ 
ple are usually just looking to get rid of their 
old, unused stuff. Although, if you are like me 
you will not always have good luck in the wild 
and will need another source for those games 
you desire. 

Another great way to get games is to 
trade with fellow collectors. Often times I have 
found that I have an extra copy of a game that I 
don’t really need and it turns out that someone 
else is actively seeking it. When you are search¬ 
ing for games it is smart to not just look for what 
you don’t have, but to also look for items that 
you could trade towards something that you do 
need. A big key to making great trades is to stay 
organized. It makes it easier to trade if you have 
a current list of items you have for trade and 
items that you want to trade for. 

Last and definitely not least is eBay. 

Without eBay most of us would not have the col¬ 
lections that we have today. Some items are just 
so scarce that you are almost certainly not going 
to find them in the wild. For those rare items 
already in others’ personal collections, trading 
is likely out of the question as well. Knowing 
how to use eBay without spending a bundle will 
be a big advantage for you as your collection 
grows. Patience is an important virtue to have 
when browsing eBay. Just because a game sells 
for a high price does not mean that you will have 
to pay that much to get it. Over time you will 
see that you can find games for less than they 
“normally” go for. You might find a good bar¬ 
gain because of a poor listing, catching a good 
buy it now, or some other reason that may cause 
the auction to not draw a lot of attention. I have 
found with most items that it is usually better in 
the long run for you to be patient, than to over¬ 

Obviously, to obtain certain games for 
your collection, you are going to have to shell 
out the big bucks. To ensure more funding for 
the rest your collection just make sure you don’t 
pay more than you have to for any one item. 
NES collecting is a ton of fun but it can become 
too expensive if you just start dishing out money 
on games that can be had for much less with just 
a bit of careful searching. 





“ Fly-By-Night” Collectors 

Article by Jason Wilson 

There are a lot of “fly-by-night” collectors out 
there. You know who I’m talking about, the 
ones that accumulate everything in about a year 
or two; then sell every¬ 
thing piece by piece. 

Blips on the collecting 
radar; coming onto the 
scene and disappearing 
like they never existed. 

I’ve actually had peo¬ 
ple contact me about 
buying the rarest games 
possible for their “col¬ 
lection”, then all of a sudden turn around and 
sell it just a week later, along with everything 
else they own. Since the NES web community 
has really only been around for 10-11 years, it’s 
amazing how many people have left, returned, 
and left again in this relatively short time. How 
do these guys accumulate and reacquire collec¬ 
tions so quickly you ask? 

Well, I’m not sure how THEY do 
it, but I can tell you, when I ended up with a 
full NES collection at 23,1 was not rich by any 
means. I left Chicago to work at a video game 
magazine in California for a measly $27,000 a 
year BEFORE taxes. Of course, this was my 
dream job, and I was 21 years old at the time, 
and had a good head start to my collection with 
400+ NES games. I had acquired most of my ti¬ 
tles from various trades while growing up in Mi¬ 
ami, and from Funcoland mail order catalogues. 
These catalogues were crucial, as they gave me 
the opportunity to finally purchase games with¬ 
out depending upon lucky garage sale or flea 
market finds. 

A lot of my earlier trades involved 
trading “up” sub par games for better games, or 
trading a good/decent title for 10 “crappy” titles. 
One in particular that I fondly recall is when I 
turned a Contra into 10 games. A friend of mine 
in 9th grade was obsessed with Contra, and real¬ 
ly wanted it badly. I was finished with the game, 
and he had a plethora of titles I had never seen 
before. Early titles like Spelunker and Raid on 
Bungeling Bay captured my attention, and I fig¬ 
ured I would never be able to come across these 
again, so I started high in asking for 10 “crappy” 
games. I tried to convince him that they were 
indeed nearly worthless, but without a price 
guide or any used games stores really in exis¬ 

tence yet, who 
knew? I ended 
up using this 1- 
for-5 and 1-for- 
10 trade with 
many friends 
who wanted 
better titles that 
I found at the 
flea market. I 
would either 
send extras to 
Funcoland in 
trade for better 
titles, or just 
larger num¬ 
bers in my 
quest to com¬ 
plete the NES 

The web eventually became a resource 
and a privilege in the mid 90s (even on dial-up!). 
While using this new source of information, I 
slowly began to realize collecting the entire set 
would not be as daunting of a task as I thought. 
In retrospect, this was also the beginning of my 
realization that a much larger, scarier task was 
at hand - one that to this day still borders a gray 
area of legality that no one can be too sure of... 


Contra: His friend 
probably wasn’t the 
only one obsessed with 
this one ... 

The Wizard's 

Where Have I Been? 

Don't gimvnie 
that look, you 
son -of-a- bitch, 

Article by Michael Zazulak 

Well, it’s that time again. Another edition of 
Hidden Treasures: Revealed. But to be hon- 

_est, I really don’t feel 

like writing this week. 
In fact, I’ve been absent 
from the community 
for the majority of the 
month. This happens all 
the time with new col¬ 
lectors - they come in, 
and they disappear. No¬ 
body really notices. But 
with an established collector like myself, just 
disappearing off the face of the earth tends to 
not go unnoticed. I figured this month, I’d use 
my column to kind of explain what’s been going 
on. Who knows, it may help someone else in 
the same position at some point in the future. 

Not many people on Nintendo AGE 
know this about me, but I suffer from Bipolar 
Disorder, also known as Manic-Depressive Ill¬ 
ness. I was diagnosed a little over two years 

thus- wizard 

ago after a severe manic episode, which I would 
rather not get into. Suffice it to say, it was se¬ 
rious enough to be involuntarily confined to a 
hospital for the better part of a day. Now, you 
might be wondering how this relates to me not 
being around, or not choosing a title to review 
this week. Be patient - I’m getting to that. 

Bipolar disorder is very much a treat¬ 
able condition. However, you need to follow up 
with your doctor regularly. I have failed to do 
this over the past two years since my diagno¬ 
sis. Over the last few months, I’ve fallen into 
a progressively severe depressive state. Had I 
followed up with my doctor, I may have had my 
meds adjusted the way I needed, but being the 
stubborn arse that I am, I just let it go. I felt 
normal. People around me knew something was 
wrong, but the people that would’ve made me 
get help had no idea. Turns out, the medica¬ 
tion I was on only treats manic episodes; it does 
nothing for the depressive phases. So while 
I’m going through these lows, the medication 
was doing nothing to help. And things just got 
worse and worse. 

I ended up pushing away the woman 
I love, to the point that she no longer loves me 
back. I’ve strained my friendships, my relations 
with my family, and have had difficulty at work. 
I no longer take joy in the things that once 

made me happy, including gaming. I chose not 
to review a game this month simply because I 
haven’t actually played anything this month. I 
have no desire to pick up a controller. 

Two weeks ago, I crashed and burned. 
I just mentally collapsed, almost to the point 
of no return. Now I’m getting the treatment I 
need. It almost seems like too little, too late, 
because of what I’ve lost in the interim, but 
one day, I’ll rise again, like a phoenix, from the 
ashes of what once was. Until then, I’ll be con¬ 
spicuously absent from the forums. I can still 
be reached by email, MSN, and occasionally 
AIM. I’ve also been checking GameFAQs, but 
the community there is a lot smaller, so I don’t 
feel overly pressured. And if anyone really 
wants to know what’s going down, they can ask 
Jason (NGD), Nick (burnambill), or Basil (Dr. 
Morbis), as they’ve all had semi-regular contact 
over the last month. I hope to be back to my old 
self soon, but just in case I’m gone for a while 
longer, I didn’t want anyone to worry too much. 
And I hope to be able to review a game next 
month...or maybe two, to make up for the one 
I missed this month. I’ve got a lot of gaming to 
catch up on. 

[Editor’s note: I know that everyone 
at NA will join me in wishing you a speedy and 
full recovery, Mike. You’ve been missed.] 




Article by Mark Lacey 

Many of you may have heard of this device be¬ 
fore, but maybe you don’t know exactly what it is 
or what it does. CopyNES 
is a device developed by 
Kevin Horton around the 
year 2000, although it did 
not become readily avail¬ 
able to the general public 
until late 2005. Arguably, Boot God 

its primary function is to 
back-up ROM data from NES cartridges, often 
referred to as “dumping”, but it is much more 
than that! The device itself is supplement board 
that interfaces directly with the 6502 CPU in the 
original version of the NES. This direct access 
is what gives 

CopyNES The PCB can be seen 
such flexibil- i n its ‘Testing place ” 
lty> attached to the bottom of 

The NES has 
always been 
one of the 
most diffi¬ 
cult systems 
to create a 
device like 
this because 
of the vast 
array of in¬ 

the NES’ CPU board. 

cartridge hardware that handles operations like 
bank-switching. A NES cart with no special 

can only 
access up 
to 32KB 
of Pro¬ 
gram ROM 
(PRG) and 
8KB Char¬ 
acter ROM 
( C H R ) . 

Here’s the board con¬ 
nected up to the CPU’s 
socket. The notches on 
the board are there so 
it clears the mounting 
standoffs in the NES. 

These are 
quite restrict¬ 
ing limits, 
so it was not 
long before 
began using 

to allow programs to swap segments of the 
ROM(s) in and out of the NES’s address space. 
There are literally hundreds of unique hardware 
setups. CopyNES overcomes this problem with 
its plugin system. A plugin in this case is a small 
block (1KB) of code that gets uploaded to the 
NES and tells it how to cycle thru each ROM 
bank and send it back to the PC. The plugins 
also take care of things like determining mirror¬ 
ing and ROM sizes as well. 

Some other useful features of the 
CopyNES is the ability to read and write back to 
a cart’s save RAM. This is handy if you want to 
retain your data while switching a battery out or 
if you like to cheat and upload hacked saves that 
give you all items, etc. If you have a Game Ac¬ 
tion Replay, you’re probably aware of its major 
downfall: if the battery dies, RAM data critical 

to its operation is lost! Luckily, CopyNES has a 
function to restore this data. 

Many of its features are geared to¬ 
wards development. With a RAM cart such as 
the PowerPak Lite, you’re able to quickly load 
and test your code on real NES hardware. An¬ 
other amazing feature is that CopyNES has a 
built-in emulator which basically allows you to 
step thru code running on a cart. This is invalu¬ 
able in figuring out how “unknown” hardware 

This original version communicates 
with a PC via a parallel port, which ended up be¬ 
ing the device’s primary downfall. Many PC’s 
these days do not even come with a parallel port 
installed, in which case you’d also need to get 
an add-on card. Even worse, many PC’s that 
do have a parallel port, simply don’t work with 
CopyNES at all. Quite often it will take a bit of 
tweaking BIOS settings to get the port to work. 
Typically, the BIOS in a PC will allow you to 
select a port mode, i.e.: Standard, Bi-direction¬ 
al, EPP, ECP, EPP + ECP, etc. If you’re having 
trouble, try them all! Sometimes the cable itself 
can also cause problems by picking up interfer¬ 
ence from other cables. Try to keep it as isolated 
as possible from other cables. 

Just recently, Kevin Horton an¬ 
nounced that he was sold-out and would not be 
making anymore units. However, Brian Parker has developed a USB version 
to replace it! It functions the same, however it 
does not have the compatibility problems of the 
original version. Keep an eye out for the USB 
CopyNES available soon at 

If you’re interested in some more de¬ 
tailed technical information, check out Kevin 
Horton’s CopyNES page 

Want to be featured? 

Do you draw? Do you paint? Do 
you knit? Do you blow up lots of 
balloons and try to fly into the atmo¬ 
sphere while doing Sudoku? Do it 
up, we’ll put it in. 



Sara Parker’s Pool 

Review by Jason Smith 


In early 1992 Odyssey Software in Boston, Mas¬ 
sachusetts began development for American 
Video Entertainment 
(AVE) of Robert By¬ 
rne’s Pool Challenge, 
which later would re¬ 
ceive a name change 
to Cuestick. Robert 
Byrnes is a world-fa¬ 
mous pool shark (pic¬ 
tured right) who won 
numerous national tournaments and was widely 
known in the billiards community. Byrne must 
have also been a shameless self promoter, be¬ 
cause he had a whole screen at the beginning of 
the game to 
his numer¬ 
ous books 
and videos. 

Rucker III 
and Art Ce- 
staro were 
the original 
ers on Pool 

Challenge and did most of the initial work. Af¬ 
ter Robert Byrne requested some changes to the 
game that must have been fairly substantial, the 
game was then renamed Cuestick. The devel¬ 
opers were having a lot of trouble with the ball 
physics and brought in a coder by the name of 
Mike Smith. Art Cestaro, founder of Odyssey 
Software and producer of CueStick, was quoted 
as saying: 

“Cuestick actually came out really 
good. The ball physics were right on. Took 
along time to get them right. George was having 



PM " 

♦ ZQo&zAt &yme& 







problems but we hired a friend of 
Lane s named Mike Smith. He was really good 
with math. George and he sat down for like 2 
weeks do math, physics and stuff and came up 
with all the formula s for that. It was amazing. 
Especially since the nes 8 bit had like no com¬ 
puting power. Just to calculate the formulas on 
that thing was amazing let alone animating the 
results on screen. ” 

But on top of all the delays and prob¬ 
lems at Odyssey Software, AVE closed its doors 
near the final stages of game development, and 
the game was never released. This was planned 
to be the last NES game that AVE produced any¬ 
way, but they closed their doors just a few short 
weeks before the game was to be finished. Un¬ 
fortunately neither company made a dime from 
the game because of AVE’s untimely demise. 

I know some of you are wondering why the game 
is called Sara Parker’s Pool Challenge now in¬ 
stead of Cuestick or Robert Byrne’s. There is 
a simple answer for that, bunnyboy wanted to 
rename it and release it, similar to his NWC, Su¬ 
doku 2007 and Airball offerings. He held a con¬ 
test among eight of his friends. All eight played 
games of straight pool, and then the 4 winners 
played 8-ball, then in the championship round 
the contestants played a game of Kelly Pool 
to decide the victor. Sara Parker (bunnyboy’s 
wife) just happened to win, the prize being her 
very own game. 

So far, 4 
have sur¬ 
faced for 
this game: 

3 for Pool 

Challenge and 1 for Cuestick. All the protos 
came from the same source, Phil Mikkelson, 
a former AVE/Color Dreams employee. Phil 
was one of the graphics guys on the game and 
wound up with lots of AVE/Color Dreams pro¬ 
tos after those companies closed up shop. He 
sold several protos sometime around 2001-2002 
to a few NES collectors. Here is a list of the cur¬ 
rent prototype owners, and the timeline of who 
has owned them (the best I can figure): 

Cuestick: Phil Mikkelson -> Martin (NESworld) 
Pool Challenge #1: Phil Mikkelson -> Martin 

Pool Challenge #2: Phil Mikkelson -> TRM -> 
Muresan -> DreamTR 

Pool Challenge #3: Phil Mikkelson -> undis¬ 
closed owner 

There is also 
one other ver¬ 
sion of the 
game out there 
in proto form. 
The final Cue¬ 
stick cartridge 
had 1 gold 
demo copy of 
it made, but 
was lost in the 
mail on its way 
over to Martin 
in Denmark. 
Hopefully it 
will surface 
someday so 
we can check 
for differenc¬ 
es. The Cue¬ 
stick proto that 
Martin has is 
labeled “NES 
Beta Test Ver¬ 
sion 6” and is thought to be the last version be¬ 
fore the game was completed. At least 2 of the 3 
Pool Challenge carts look exactly the same and 
the third one is assumed to be very similar. 

The Breakdown: 

Title: Robert Byrne’s Pool Challenge/ 

Current Title: Sara Parker’s Pool Chal¬ 

Genre: Sports 

Developed by: Odyssey Software 
Programmed by: George Rucker III, Mike 
Smith, & Art Cestaro 
Original release date: unreleased 
Current release date: mid-December 2007 
Produced by: Bunnyboy 
Purchased at: 
Cost: $40 



Sound / Music 


The music to Pool Challenge is very catchy. 
The more you listen to it, the more it gets stuck 

in your 
head. I 
had it open 
for hours 
when I 
was work¬ 
ing on the 
manual for 
the game 

and I caught myself bouncing my feet or mov¬ 
ing my head in rhythm with the music several 
times. I do wish the music would have been 
switched up a bit on the different pool games 
instead of the same music, but I enjoy it none 
the less. The in-game sound effects are lacking 
a little, but they don’t take anything away from 
the game play. 


The graphics are probably the worst aspect of the 
game. There isn’t a whole lot that can actually 
be done with a pool-style game. Pretty much 
the whole 
game is 

either a 

text menu 
screen or a 
pool table. 

The end of 
the game 
are pretty 

plain; just still shots that look pretty average 
for NES game. Considering this is a 3rd party 
unlicensed game though, it is about on par with 
what you would expect. The biggest problem I 
found with the game is that off the break shot 
the gameplay slows down on-screen. The con¬ 
sole doesn’t have quite enough power to handle 
all the simultaneous ball movement well. This 
happens on several games when to much is hap¬ 
pening on screen at once. It only does it on the 
breaks though. 


The controls are a piece of cake once you get the 
hang of them, or if you have any billiards expe¬ 
rience at all. I picked up the different types of 
shots and the in-game geometry pretty quickly. 
The controls are very basic and extremely easy 
to learn, yet they do the job quite well. Once you 
get the hang of the power bar and cursor angles 

you will 

skilled at 
this game 


This game can be as easy or challenging as you 
want it to be. There is an option to change the 
pool friction from being slick as ice to being 
as course as sand paper. If you want a super 
easy match then select ice and watch the balls 
go nuts, but if you want a skilled precision 
match then choose the sand paper so you have 
to have precision shots. The game of pool is 
all about angles and knowing what shot to take, 
and Sara Parker’s Pool Challenge captures that 
very well. 


Ever since I got a sneak peek at Pool Chal¬ 
lenge, I have been constantly playing it. I have 
beaten each type of pool numerous times and I 
just keep going back. It is a great way to kill 
10-15 minutes for a match, and have a great 
time. Even if you are not a pool fanatic, with 
the different types of options and styles of pool, 
you can continually find something to keep you 
entertained and learning. It is such a shame this 
game never saw an original release on the NES, 
it would have done very well. 

Game Play / Realism 

. M 

Pool Challenge is quite realistic in terms of ac¬ 
tual pool mechanics. You have to hit the correct 
spot on the cueball with just the right about of 
force behind it, while lining up your shot just 
right. Just like in real life it can be a tad frus¬ 
trating at first but can be learned quickly, and 
improved upon each game. The pool ball move¬ 
ment has a natural flow, and is very realistic. 


I don’t see how anyone could possibly go wrong 
with Pool Challenge! For the sheer fact that it 
is an unreleased game and we are finally getting 
a chance to play it is reason enough to want a 
copy in my collection. But on top of that, the 
whole game is solid. This is not the type of title 
that you expect an unlicensed game to come out 
with. It was under development late into the 
NES lifecycle so the developers knew how to 

take advantage of the hardware and get the most 
out of it. With realistic and solid controls, good 
music, a huge amount of challenge, and a high 
replay value this is a great title to have brought 
into the NES library. 

By supporting projects like this we will con¬ 
tinually have new games to buy for our good 
old systems, and keep the NES alive for years 
to come. Go to and pick up 
your copy sometime in mid December for the 
low price of $40.00 plus shipping. This game 
also comes complete in box with a clear cart, 
sleeve, manual, and box. This will be the 2nd 
game in over ten years to come complete in box 
for the NES. Pool Challenge is also equipped 
with the powerful CIClone lockout chip to al¬ 
low for NTSC and PAL collectors alike to enjoy 
this new game. 

Special thanks to bunnyboy for letting me get 
involved with his projects. I’d also like to thank 
Martin ( and Dreamtr for help¬ 
ing out with the history section and general 

Past RetroZone releases: 

Nintendo World Championship 1990 




Take a break from the deep thoughts of the NES community’s finest. eZine 


Welcome to the 




1, Mario's original occupation? 

2. Lady that Zelda is named after? {surname) 

4. Best team in Baseball Stars? 

8. Rodent that can be put in microwave in Maniac 

11. Name of opponent in Punch-Out!!!_ 


13. Original name of hero in Donkey Kong? 

15. Number of palaces in Zelda 2? 

17. Number of teams in Double Dribble? 

IS. Number of lives given after entering Contra 

19. First enemy encountered in Super Mario Bros.? 
21. Game with clothes rotting off kidnapped girl as 
ame progresses? (two words} 

2. Only two player Zapper game released on the 

23. Creator of Sudoku on NES {surname) 

24. Author of all daily polls? 


1. Newest release by Retrozone as of this issue? 
(original name) 

3. Name of damsel kidnapped at the start of Donkey 

5. Nintendo Competition held in late '91/early '92. 

_ r Challenge. 

6. Metroid code to begin undressed with all 
weapons? {two words) 

7. Name of recent NintendoAGE scammer? 

9. Double Dragon Player. Not Jimmy. 

10. Number of Color Dreams games. 

12. Main character in Wizards & Warriors? 

14. First complete NES release by Retrozone? 

16. Ghoul School programmer surname (Issue 2) 

17. Japanese equivalent of the NES? 

20. Number of games released on the Aladdin Deck 

£ feel asleep. 

Chris, you watching 
the big game tonight? 





Hey isn't that Mario! 
wow, gosh I love 
your games! 

By Dan Langevin. Sprites from Spritars-ResDurce.Gom 

Hey, Bill. How's 
the wife and kids? 



How it all started how 
it all started again. 

Article by Josh Byerly 

Prior to popular belief (mainly that of my lovely 
girlfriend of six years) collecting video games 
is not an addiction. More importantly, playing 
video games is not an 
addiction. The Ameri¬ 
can Medical Associa¬ 
tion can go F’ them¬ 
selves (that’s right, a 
capital F) with this new 
term of video game ad¬ 
diction. But that topic 

is for another time. 

So yeah... video games and collecting 
video games... not an addiction. 

It is a hobby to some or even a life¬ 
style... but for me it is a way of never truly 
growing up. 

I am a relatively young NES enthusi¬ 
ast and some may even still call me a kid, but at 
age 24 I have experienced quite a bit of the real 
world. I gradated high school, found the girl of 
my dreams, went to college with said girl, trav¬ 
eled to Europe with girl, came back, traveled to 
Africa for an internship, came back, graduated 
College, slacked all summer and just landed 
my first “real job” (but that is still up for debate 
since I’m not quite sure what I think of my ca¬ 
reer choice). 

I am getting older and life goes on. 
So, whatever, right? WRONG! 

This is a BIG deal to me. I don’t want 
to get older. I never have wanted to get older. I 
want to grasp my childhood like it’s my Darth 
Vader toy case and never let it go! I miss 
those days hanging out with Grandma playing 
Asteroids on a 2600 that would only work on 
the black and white setting. I miss building with 
blocks, playing He-Man, Thundercats and G.I. 
Joe. But most of all I miss playing my NES ev¬ 
ery damn day with my sister. 

From age five up until the launch of 
the Super Nintendo Entertainment System I 
played video games everyday (seriously). I 
would even play on Sundays when I wasn’t sup¬ 
posed to (according to my parents, God didn’t 
like me playing them on “His” day). My parents 
couldn’t regulate me! I wouldn’t have it! 

After church my mom would go to the 
barn to feed the horses and my dad would work 
on his cars. I would sit up in our little apart¬ 
ment attached to my grandparent’s house where 
we lived, and waited until they were both out 

of sight. As soon as they were safely 
gone I would pop in DuckTales and 
see if I could conquer it before they 
came back up. Granted I did get 
caught sometimes, but it seemed as if 
I beat DuckTales every Sunday until 
Super Mario World became my new 

Don’t get me wrong, I 
was still an active kid. I played ev¬ 
ery damned sport from grades one 
through eight, and then in high school 
I ran cross-country and track. I was 
an above average student and paid 
attention. I cared about my educa¬ 
tion because my parents cared. I was 
NOT addicted to video games. I just loved them 
very, very much. 

Flash forward to my sophomore year 
of High School. I was turning 16 in less than 
a week, I had a girlfriend who didn’t care that 
I had bad acne, and I was just about to run one 
hell of a cross-country race. Since it was Satur¬ 
day morning, my parents, in their ritualistic ga¬ 
rage sale ways, didn’t quite make it to my race 
in time for the start. Little did I know that while 
the gun was sounding the start of the race my 
parents were at a sale down the road buying a 
Nintendo Entertainment System with 17 games, 
four controllers, two zappers and one Beeshu 
Zoomer for five bucks. At the end of the race 
my teammates, my girlfriend, and my parents 
congratulated me (they had arrived just in time 
for the finish). My parents told me what they 
had purchased and I wasn’t exactly impressed 
as I was still basking in the glory of running a 
damn good race (alright, so I didn’t win, but I 
did very well). 

After the race that evening I was on 
the phone with my girlfriend (please note this is 
NOT the current girlfriend, thank God) and she 
was starting to bore me. I knew it wasn’t going 
to work out, but I still needed a date to Home- 

WWSMD? Do you think that 
Scrooge McDuck would mind you 
playing on Sunday? 

Above: Jaws wants you to say he 
sucks to his face. 

coming (wow, I was an asshole). My mind 
started to wander... The NES was still in the 
back seat of the car! The 17 games were nothing 
too exciting, except for one. Bubble Bobble. I 
remember Bubble Bobble well from my youth. 
My sister and I used to play the shit out of Bub 
and Bob. So I made up some excuse to get off 
the phone and I went to the car, got the system 
and hooked it up like good ol’ times. That night I 
played Bubble Bobble until God knows when... 
probably well into Sunday morning. Thankfully 
I had grown out of those old “no playing NES 
on Sunday” rules. 

From that Sunday on I vowed to the 
holy Gods of NES that I would get, play and 
enjoy every single NES game. And well folks, 
the rest is history... 

Not really. I forgot to mention that 
a good quarter of the NES library absolutely 
sucks shit. I mean have you guys ever played 
Jaws for the NES? Good God is it awful. You 
would think it would have been a great game, 
but nooooooooooooo! They had to have some 
scuba guy swimming around shooting shit, 
while waiting for Jaws to appear. 

So after a good year of collecting I 
changed my vow to collect every game even if it 
was horrible (yes, I am talking about you Barbie 
and you Home Alone). Also, my games had to be 
complete in their original boxes. By 
this time I had a good 300-350 games 
and had just started finding complete 
games in the wild. I liked complete 
games very much. How they looked, 
how they felt and how they made me 
feel. If a NES game was complete I 
felt complete (com’n guys, you know 
what I am talking about). 

I became a NES maniac. I 
raided the thrifts, bought out failing 
video game store businesses, found 
all the rental stores that had once car¬ 
ried NES games, and started selling 
off my duplicates to fund my new¬ 
found obsession. 



Flash forward to the first term of my 
junior year of college (actually my fourth year, 
but hey, college is a bitch when you don’t know 
what you want to get out of it). I have just dis¬ 
covered a major I actually might enjoy. I start 
taking classes and what do you know? I like it! 
While I am getting established in the School of 
Journalism and Communications at the Univer¬ 
sity of Oregon I discover a study abroad pro¬ 
gram that allows students to intern for different 
media outlets in Sub-Saharan West Africa, in 
the small country of Ghana. I talk with my girl¬ 
friend (alright, alright, her name is Laura and 
she is a fox, maybe I will get a picture posted in 
the mug shots thread one of these days) and we 
both agree that it is an opportunity of a lifetime. 
There is one big problem. It isn’t exactly the 
cheapest study abroad program out there. Not 
to mention school is making me go broke and 
I am down to the extreme rarities in my NES 
collection. In other words I really don’t see this 
trip happening. 

I have just come face to face with a 
harsh reality. Why the hell do I have all these 
games in my closet that I never play and have no 
room to display properly? I really thought hard 
about it and when the time came (just after the 
start of the New Year in 2006) it really boiled 
down to what mattered most in my life: my fu¬ 
ture. I had held on to this part of my childhood 
from 16 until 22 and I realized that it was time 
to let it go. I knew that what mattered right now 
was to get out and see the world. So I sold it. 

All of it... 

Cherub Minty 
box. Good¬ 
bye com¬ 
plete with 
C a 11 r o n . 

Challenge II 
carts. Good¬ 
bye Chee- 
tahmen II. 

Goodbye Ac¬ 
tion 52 vari¬ 
ants. Good¬ 
bye upside down label complete in box Yoshi. 
Goodbye Flintstones 2. Goodbye sealed collec¬ 
tion of every Camerica game. Goodbye all you 
damn complete Color Dreams games that took 
me FOREVER and too much money to find. 
Goodbye my massive amount of 30 plus Of¬ 
ficeMax filing boxes filled with complete NES 
games. Goodbye. 

So I sold it. I traveled to Africa and 
had the time of my life. Beer in Ghana is cheap¬ 
er than water so you can guess what I was doing 
every night. I didn’t get Malaria but I did end up 
eating some goat leg, which led to a bad feeling 
in my stomach for the next five days before I 

left. I later learned that I had contracted Giar- 
dia and Amebic Dysentery. I came back to the 
States and ended up feeling like shit for a while 
until I went to the doctor who said, “hey poop 
on this stick.” They gave me some pills for it 
and it went away, so it wasn’t all that bad. 

After coming back I had some bad 
gaming withdrawals. I hacked apart my Xbox 
and put every NES rom I could find on it. That 
lasted for about a week and I started school back 
up for my final year. I told myself to focus and 
finish school strong. I did so without buying 
games for a collecting throughout that school 

All of the sudden I was tired of this 
poor substitute (my Xbox) for the real deal. I 
still had my NES and a pile of games so I dug 
into Mega Man 2 and it all came back to me 

And here I am today. I haven’t really been buy¬ 
ing games like I used to, but instead I’ve been 
quite picky about condition. I only will buy 
sealed NES games anymore these days or rari¬ 
ties that haven’t quite caught on yet. Another 
major draw that has attracted me to this com¬ 
munity is this site. NintendoAge was something 
I had always wanted when I was all gung-ho on 
collecting and now that it is here I don’t want to 
pass up this chance to be a part of something so 
great! Thank you to everyone who has been so 
kind over the years and I am so happy to be back 
in the swing of things. 

Above: A young goat, 
ready to be feasted upon. 


dangevin: Scratch SE Off Your List / 2 
Bronty: How is it Sealed? / 3-4 
Nistle: Hot eBay Tip / 5 
Member Spotlight: flyingducky / 5 
DreamTR: Fly-by-the-Night Collectors / 6 
The Wizard: Where Have I Been? / 6 
BootGod: CopyNES / 7 
Funny of the Month (Stan) / 7 
NGD: Pool Challenge / 8-9 
Fun Page / 10 
qixmaster/ 11-12 

Nintendo AGE eZine Volume 1 Issue 4: December 2007 
Copyright 2007 NintendoAGE & Dain Anderson 

All rights reserved. No portion of this document may be copied, 
reproduced, hosted, redistributed or sold, in any part or whole, without 
express written consent of NintendoAGE. 


Editor-in-Chief / Dan Langenvin (Dangevin) 

Layout Artist / Kevin Hanley (mewithoutYou52) 

Executive Supervisor: Dain Anderson (Dain) 

Staff Writers: 

Jason Smith / NationaiGameDepot 
Jason Wilson / DreamTR 
Michael Zazulak / The_Wizard_666 
Dan Maresca / Bronty 
Josh Byerly / qixmaster 
Mark Lacey / BootGod 
Dustin Lett / Nistle 

This is, and always will be a free publication available exclusively to the 
registered members of - if you acquired this docu¬ 
ment from any other source, please notify us at